MDiv Student Cici James is Preparing to Serve Teenagers in Foster Care

After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with degrees in psychology and in administration of justice, Ciera “Cici” James knew she wanted to go to seminary. But the Chesapeake, Va., native thought she’d leave Pittsburgh for such a program. “I decided to tour PTS with a friend just because it was close and I wanted to see what seminary was like,” Cici says. “I ended up really loving the campus and the people I met on the tour and decided to apply.”

“If I had to describe my time at PTS in one word, I would say ‘supported,’”

Cici grew up in a nondenominational Christian church and attended one during college as well. So when considering seminaries, she looked at several other schools. “But I was excited about the people at PTS, the potential for a joint-degree program, and the chance to continue relationships I had already made during my four years in Pittsburgh,” she notes. And after receiving generous financial support from PTS, she enrolled in our M.Div. program. “One of my favorite parts of the program so far has been studying Greek!”

Cici is seeking to become a chaplain and work with teenagers in foster care—in a group home or with an organization focused on this population. “I am also passionate about college ministry. I want to be a part of a campus church where I can invest in the lives of college students because I saw the impact my campus church had on my life and on the lives of so many others. I believe the Lord has called me to love and serve these populations of people, who often go overlooked and need someone to take the time to show God’s heart to them,” she reflects.

“If I had to describe my time at PTS in one word, I would say ‘supported,’” Cici says. “I have felt supported by professors who want me to succeed and have encouraged me through the challenges of graduate work. I’ve felt supported in my search for a field education placement and in my work-support job in the Worship Program. Even when I’ve felt out of my depth, I’ve still felt supported and like I am being equipped. My classmates have taken time to study with me, have fun with me, and be companions when personal difficulties arise—they’ve shown their support by truly wanting to get to know me and be in community with me. And most importantly, I’ve felt supported through the challenges of seminary studies to my belief system, which is helping to strengthen my faith.”

Cici sums up her seminary experience this way: “It has been so much better than I could have imagined.” No wonder Cici always seems to be smiling.

MDiv chaplain student Cici James from Virginia